1. Effective Tools
To monitor any large corporate environment you’re going need the right tools to do the job. It doesn’t mean you have to have the most expensive set of tools, but they need to functionally deliver all that you require to effectively monitor everything within your environment. It also doesn’t mean you need to ditch your current toolset for “something else”. So many companies chase the “right” or “perfect” tool when no such tool exists, and often it’s down to the implementation (or lack of) that has created this perceived gap in your monitoring capability. Decent tools, fit for purpose, properly supported by both the vendor (and internally) is essential.
2. Effective Management
To deliver or improve any monitoring strategy within a business you need management buy-in. By that I mean they must have “skin in the game” i.e. a vested interested in the successful deployment or improvement of said monitoring environment. Without support from above, your boss, his boss (the CTO even!), delivering an effective monitoring solution will be almost impossible, like having a hand tied behind your back. If you don’t have management support you need to get it now.
3. Effective People
You are not going to be able to deliver an effective monitoring system without decent people to help you. In addition to management mentioned above you will need support from the heads of other core teams, including infrastructure/platform, application, service management, operations, support teams and many more. Having a single point of contact within core teams is a great way to create agreed accountability and simplify the delivery of a credible and effective solution. Too many cooks etc. You will also need direct help in the form of other supporting team members, including BAU staff and project resources. Junior team members are great to have if your business has the capacity.
4. Define Standards
Defining standards is a great way to get organised and improve the overall effectiveness of your monitoring tools, whether it be build standards, deployment standards, alerting standards, notification standards, documentation standards, or standards around your processes and procedures. Define standards that are fit for purpose, deliver effectively, and are understood by all. Refine and improve standards as you progress your monitoring strategy (whatever that is), but define a set of standards to get you started, it will pay dividends in the long-term.
5. Develop Processes & Procedures
Document, test, refine, re-test. Don’t document for the sake of it. I’ve worked in organisations where hundred page documents could have been written in a single page. The archaic culture was to create lengthy documents, and it only served to confuse and waste time. If you create a simple process for doing XYZ, document it (for yourself), then test the documented procedure. Refine, then pass to another team member to test it. Refine again as required. I’ve created many processes and procedures in the past so that I don’t have to think how to do something, I just follow the steps, religiously. This makes it very easy to outsource tasks to junior team members for example, they will definitely learn faster this way and it will provoke healthy questions which only adds to their understanding.